For this year’s International Women’s Day we wanted to celebrate all the inspirational women in our supply chain – from our craftswomen to our customers.
As a business in which 90% of our workforce in India is female, we celebrate women every day, and for IWD we are showcasing some of our clients who we feel are both industry leaders and inspirational women.
We asked our favourite ladies 5 questions, and here are their answers.
Introducing Lidia, founder and creative director of Lidia Russo Designs. Since 2018, she has been making and selling beautiful bespoke bags that start life as reclaimed fabric. We love Lidia because of her clear design philosophy and admirable sustainability traits. Like Lidia, we have an aversion to single-use and design our products to last.
But enough from us! Read Lidia’s IWD day answers below:
1. Briefly describe your job/role and how you got there:
I founded Lidia Russo Designs in 2018, and am proudly supported by The Prince’s Trust. I enrolled on their four day Enterprise Programme, built to support young people launch their own business. It set me up with skills and the courage to take my ideas further, building them into a brand. I design and individually hand-make bespoke, reclaimed textile bags; working to beat waste from the industry, I am striving for slow fashion, the antithesis of the mass-produced and throw away culture of today.
2. Who/what is your inspiration – in design and life?
My aunt, she is an absolute rock star. She inspired and continues to inspire me daily, through my creative practice. She is the reason why I can pick up a needle and sew. My skills stem from her, from our Sunday sewing sessions when I was twelve or thirteen years old, desperate to learn, to be able to hold her abilities in my hands. She was raised in a little village in the mountains of southern Italy, and growing up then it was encouraged to learn a skill; as a girl of eight years old in the 50s, she learnt to sew. In later years she developed her skills and went on to train and work as a dressmaker. I still call her up for guidance to this day!
3. Tell us your favourite creation/moment:
A favourite of mine right now is Olivia Colman’s Oscar Acceptance Speech for Best Actress. The whole thing is so heart warming and powerful and normal! Normal in the sense that all of her emotions she feels, in watching her speech you will feel too, it broke down barriers between famous/non-famous and all of that hierarchal difference and you realise that we are all humans, all with feelings, and most times than not we feel similarly. She recounts loving her first job as a cleaner, and it encourages the fact that you just don’t know where life takes you.
4. Tell us your favourite way to pick yourself up and/or unwind:
My favourite way to pick myself up is either to take a walk down the seafront, I am lucky enough to live close-by and it just calms me and gives me headspace if I am having a busy day/week. If not that, then there is nothing like getting lost in a book, it completely takes my mind away; ‘Women who run with the Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes is super empowering and my favourite read from last year, I dip in and out of it all the time. I also love good classic, I am about to re-read ‘Little Women’ one of my childhood favourites.
5. If you could ask the ladies who work with us in India 1 question, or give a piece of advice, what would it be?
I would love to ask the ladies in India what empowers them? What are their aspirations/goals or skills inside or outside of work? How do they spend their time? I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful craftswomen, they are outstanding and the product I ordered through bags of ethics couldn’t be closer to what I had designed, when I received my parcel and opened them up, I saw exactly what I imagined!